PAL to restore prepandemic domestic capacity by Q4
Philippine Airlines (PAL) is pinning its hopes on the fourth quarter push—a period when passenger volume is expected to surge amid the holidays—to fully restore its domestic capacity this year.
Stanley Ng, PAL president and chief operating officer, said during an event on Tuesday that the flag carrier’s domestic capacity had reached 80 percent of prepandemic level, which was seen as a welcome development after grappling with mobility restrictions triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
PAL vice president of sales Bud Britanico said that the reopening of the country’s major tourist spots would help drive demand for air travel.
“For example, Surigao [and] Siargao [are] on their way to recovery, full capacity. You have those other destinations picking up. So, [we are] very optimistic, especially for domestic tourism. That’s easier because that is within our control,” he said.
The bullish outlook is complemented by “better than expected” performance in the first quarter, Ng said.
“It is really encouraging, the results of the first quarter,” he said, noting this was followed by a surge in flight bookings during the Holy Week break.
For its international capacity, PAL has reached 60 percent of prepandemic level. Ng said the airline would add more flights to other countries that have reopened their borders.
The PAL chief said the airline was also better prepared now to deal with the pandemic after two years of disruptions to its operations.
Meanwhile, the flag carrier also signed a memorandum of agreement on Tuesday with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to spur travels to Singapore through a joint campaign.
The parties will also offer special deals and promotions for tourism establishments in Singapore.
Currently, PAL has two daily flights to Singapore, but Ng said the prepandemic frequency of four daily flights could be restored by the last quarter.
“The Philippines is a key and important tourism market for Singapore and strong flight connectivity between both our countries is really important for us both for tourists and business travelers,” STB chief executive Keith Tan said.
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